Tension as federal police banned the yellow flag.
By Getahune Bekele
On Sunday, October 14, 2012, the Ethiopian national soccer team will do battle in tense Addis Ababa to qualify for South Africa 2013 against the Sudan who won the first leg 5-3 in Omdurman after the referee awarded them two controversial penalties late in the second half.
But the black lions gallantly and admirably fought back to score 3 away goals, and in front of 30,000 partisan fans at home, they are more than capable of scoring three goals without conceding, to book their flight to South Africa.
However, many are questioning if the current political atmosphere in Ethiopia is conducive to stage a match of this magnitude.
After being overwhelmed by the recent Islamic yellow revolution and the ever growing anti TPLF sentiment, the federal police has banned the yellow flag from the stadium and warned spectators against singing the late Tilahune Gesese’s patriotic and rubble rousing song known as “Ethiopia our fortress”.
The Horn Times reporters in Addis further reported seeing the police raiding Mosques and arresting several youth on Friday around soccer-mad Mercado area for selling the yellow flag which is fast becoming a symbol of resistance and defiance.
Ethiopia last qualified for the continental showpiece way back in 1982 in Libya where full back Mulualem Ejigu emerged as fan favorite and held up as sort of paradigm for his breath taking incursion in to the opposition box and for scintillating deft touches he displayed.
On Sunday, millions of Ethiopians expect the likes of Adane Girma and star striker Saladin Sayed to rise to the occasion like Mulualem did 30 years ago.
If the astute coach Sewnet Bishaw (pictured) gets his tactics right to overcome the physically superior Sudanese outfit, the whipping boys of Abyssinia will deliver a special victory to their victory-starving nation.